Exposé Online banner

Sonar with David Torn — Live at Moods
(7d Media 1818, 2018, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2019-01-01

Live at Moods Cover art

How better to spend New Year's Day than listening to the latest live album by Swiss math-rock-jazz giants Sonar? This is actually the band’s second live album (the first was Live at Bazillus from 2012, which I have to confess as I write this I’ve never heard), but it’s the first where master ambient guitarist David Torn is sitting in with them, much like the previously released studio album Vortex. Three cuts from that album are reworked here including the brilliant closer “Lookface!,” and it closes the live set here as well. If you don’t know this instrumental powerhouse yet (you been hiding in a cave?) the band’s stock in trade is a sound where only tritones (strings tuned to C and F#) are allowed, used by guitarists Stefan Thelen, Bernhard Wagner, and bassist Christian Kunter, with Kunter and drummer Manuel Pasquinelli keeping a steady churning ever-shifting rhythm going while the guitarists use that rhythm to lay down an interesting web of sonic minimalism over the rhythmic turbulence. It’s kind of like me writing this review with words that only use seven letters of the alphabet (no, I’m not gonna do that, I’m not that creative anyway!) but you certainly get the picture – the music that Sonar makes is at once very minimalist and very interesting. David Torn is the wildcard here, he can show up anywhere and everywhere with soaring bits of flowing guitar color and additional unpredictable textures that work splendidly with what the rest of the band is doing. The set opens with “Twofold Covering” originally from Static Motion, adding a new dimension to it. Torn sits out “Tromsø” (originally from A Flaw of Nature) but returns for a solo piece “For Lost Sailors,” which is definitely one of the high points here, unlike anything else. With that exception, this set is much like what listeners heard in Vortex, just with some live ambience. A flawless live set, beginning to end.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): David Torn, Sonar, Stephan Thelen

More info
http://sonar-band.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-moods-w-david-torn

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Tatsuya Yoshida & Ron Anderson - A Is for Accident – This duo of Yoshida on drums and vocals and Anderson on guitar and vocals, is rather in the style of Ruins, the group which Yoshida a led, along with various bassists, and occasional guitarists....  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues